Facing Holiday Sadness: The Seven Stages Of Santacide

December 14, 2011 Alistair McHarg

WARNING: This story contains graphic descriptions of a world without Santa.

As regular readers of Funny In The Head know, I am a firm believer that unflinching honesty is at the heart of all emotional well being, mental health, and peace of mind. Ignoring reality is not the best way to heal one’s inner child, and so, the day comes when we all must face [Spoiler Alert] the death of Santa Claus.

Losing a beloved authority figure is like a roundhouse punch to the solar plexus, dealing with it is rough. Here, for your comfort and joy, are the Seven Stages Of Santacide, and how to deal with them.santa-sleigh-accident2

1. SHOCK & DENIAL - You wallow in numbed disbelief and deny the reality of your loss. Shock is like an igloo offering safety from the queasy feelings of loss and bereavement. You pore over vintage Coca-Cola Christmas ads in musty copies of Saturday Evening Post and weep voluminously. This may last for weeks, or until your parents send you to visit relatives.

2. PAIN & GUILT - Shock wears off and is replaced with bodacious pain. Although excruciating and almost unbearable, you must experience it fully. Do not try to escape your pain by diving headlong into eggnog, maudlin Christmas anthologies slapped together by mediocre musicians shamelessly exploiting the season, or drugs.

3. ANGER & BARGAINING - Frustration gives way to anger, and you may lash out, looking to assign responsibility. For example, you may blame Santa’s hideous demise on the effect global warming is having on the North Pole. You may also attempt to bargain with those who you think could help, saying things like, “If you just bring back Santa I will never say – ‘It is what it is’ – again”.

4. "DEPRESSION", REFLECTION, LONELINESS - Just when outsiders think you should be getting on with your life, a long period of sad reflection will likely overtake you. While your friends insist that “Life Is Good” with a tiresome insistence that makes you want to smack them in the head with a mackerel, your response to them is always, “Yes, but death, is poopy”.

5. THE UPWARD TURN - As you start to adjust to a post-Santa reality, your life becomes calmer and more organized. Your physical symptoms lessen, and your depression begins to lift a bit. You spend less time counting ants on the basement floor and even experiment with standing up on two feet.

6. RECONSTRUCTION & WORKING THROUGH - Gradually your mind begins to work again and you start seeking realistic solutions to problems presented by a Santa-less reality. Instead of scribbling a wish list, you start working on practical problems yourself, without imagining elves jumping in to do everything for you.

7. ACCEPTANCE & HOPE - In the last stage you accept the reality of your situation. Acceptance does not necessarily mean instant happiness. Given all the recent pain and turmoil experienced, it is impossible to return to the carefree, untroubled you that existed before this tragedy.

Bottom line. Santa is dead, get over it. Now you’re Santa. Ho ho ho.

(P.S. Those of us living with a mental illness know there are lots of insensitive people around. Unfortunately, the holiday season brings out the worst in them as they give you their "special" gift; something "I picked out just for you."

APA Reference
McHarg, A. (2011, December 14). Facing Holiday Sadness: The Seven Stages Of Santacide, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 13 from

Author: Alistair McHarg

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